What is a pharmacist?

A pharmacist is a health professional who knows the composition, properties, interactions and proper use of medications. They are healthcare professionals who specialize in the right way to use, store, preserve, and provide medicine.

How to become a pharmacist?

You’ll need to complete:

  • 4-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council
  • One year pre-registration training course in pharmacy

If you do not have the qualifications to get onto a MPharm degree, you could do a 2-year pharmacy foundation degree. You would then take a job as a pharmacy assistant or technician and apply to enter the MPharm degree in its second year.

Pharmacist duties

Pharmacist duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Prepare medications by reviewing and interpreting physician orders and detecting therapeutic incompatibilities
  • Dispense medications by compounding, packaging, and labeling pharmaceuticals
  • Control medications by monitoring drug therapies; advising interventions
  • Complete pharmacy operational requirements by organizing and directing technicians’ workflow, verifying their preparation and labeling of pharmaceuticals, and verifying order entries, charges, and inspections
  • Provide pharmacological information by answering questions and requests of health care professionals and counseling patients on drug therapies
  • Adhere to applicable legal rules, regulations, and procedures governing pharmaceutical practice
  • Perform other administrative tasks when needed

Pharmacist skills

To be an effective pharmacist, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Great organizational skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Ability to think critically
  • Strong numerical skills
  • Attention to detail

How to find a pharmacist job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the pharmacist jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for pharmacist jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

What does a pharmacist do?

The job of a pharmacist varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of pharmacist job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a pharmacist include;

  • dispense medicines in a pharmacy, hospital or a GP practice clinic
  • give advice about prescription and over-the-counter medicines
  • advise on drug dosages and risks, to the public, patients, GPs and nurses
  • run screening programmes for diabetes, cholesterol or blood pressure
  • visit care homes or hospitals to advise on the use and storage of medications
  • run a business, including supervising and training staff
  • buy, quality test and distribute medicines throughout a hospital
  • supervise trainees and junior pharmacists
  • order and control stock